In the past, police agencies would need to distribute CD Roms, DVDs, or even VHS tapes in order to spread the images of suspects accused of crimes. They also needed the help of local media in order for mass distribution. Now both of those necessities are quickly changing with the digital video surveillance technology combined with social sharing sites like YouTube and Twitter.
Take the case in Philadelphia as an example. Mobile video surveillance caught a woman punching another passenger in the face more than 10 times. Local authorities posted the video on YouTube to gather more leads, and in just two days they had nearly 120,000 hits and enough quality tips to apprehend a suspect. Philadelphia is one of about 40 cities in the United States to have a police force that take to social media to solve crimes – others include Houston, Baltimore, Detroit, and Tucson.
Philadelphia credits their social media and YouTube program, nicknamed “Video Villains,” with helping solve 85 cases since beginnings in February 2011.
See Philly Police’s YouTube Channel for more examples.
Source: USA Today